Report: 16% increase in illegal immigration since 2021, almost 17M undocumented living in U.S.

(Photo by SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
1:49 PM – Thursday, June 22, 2023

According to an immigration analytics group, there are just under 17 million illegal migrants currently living in the United States, with the number increasing by 16% since President Biden took office in early 2021.


The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which advocates for lower overall immigration numbers, has released a new research report on the number of persons residing unlawfully in the United States.

According to the group’s research, there are roughly 16.8 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, up from 15.5 million in January 2022. However, other organizations have set the estimate in recent years at roughly 11 million.

“This estimate is also a 2.3 million increase from our end-of-2020 estimate, meaning the illegal alien population increased 16 percent nationwide during just the first two years of Joe Biden’s presidency,” the report says.

The Biden administration is in its third year of attempting to handle the migration crisis. With Title 42 expiring, an increase of ICE enforcement has been required, and a number of Trump-era measures, such as border wall construction and the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), have been revoked. Deportations have reduced significantly, and Republicans have lambasted the Biden administration for expanding “catch-and-release” procedures that had previously been phased out due to ineffectiveness.

The administration responded by claiming that it is reportedly reconstructing an asylum system that was destroyed by the previous administration, and has recently claimed to provide “tighter border enforcement” as well as increased legal avenues.

However, more than 200,000 encounters occurred along the southern border just in May, increasing the total number of encounters this fiscal year to over 1.6 million. According to the administration, they claim that half of those 204,000 were encountered before the Title 42 public health order, which allowed for the fast deportation of migrants due to COVID-19 health measures.

FAIR’s analysis defines an illegal immigrant as “any alien who is present in the United States without legal status, like a valid visa or lawful permanent residence.”

This includes people who are protected from deportation, including those with deferred enforced departure, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and those paroled into the United States who are classified in immigration law as “lawfully present” despite lacking legal status. TPS was recently renewed for around 330,000 nationals from four nations by the government.

Given the size and distribution of the group, and the fact that many live at least partially in the shadows, FAIR concedes that precisely calculating the population of illegal immigrants may be hazy and imprecise. Most estimates rely on Census Bureau data.

“In truth, we do not know exactly how many people cross the border illegally and evade immigration authorities, nor can anyone accurately quantify overstays or gotaways. We can only estimate these figures based on changes in annual census data, along with how many individuals CBP and ICE believe slip through undetected,” the report says.

FAIR uses Census data and it estimates that the population is being undercounted by approximately 30%, which the group says is consistent with previous estimates of nonresponse rates for illegal immigrants.

They also use increases in the measured foreign-born population “which contain a higher proportion of illegal immigrants than previous years due to inadequate border security and the expansion of dubious immigration parole programs.”

According to the analytics, the surge has been driven by lax border protocols and a post-COVID-19 hiring boom by U.S. firms, as well as Biden policies that have enhanced “pull factors” luring migrants north, such as the use of parole and increasing use of Notices to Appear. It also mentions limits imposed on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that are currently being contested in court and have been temporarily halted.

The Biden administration has consistently blamed Republicans in Congress while ignoring any criticisms directed towards them for lack of effort in controlling the continued migrant crisis. Biden administration officials argue that a comprehensive immigration measure is needed to address what it calls a “broken” system.

Republicans deliberately rejected such a proposal, which was initially offered in early 2021, because it included a wholesale road to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants already in the country.

“According to FAIR’s recently-released cost study of the fiscal burden of illegal immigration, illegal aliens pay around $16.2 billion in federal taxes and $15.2 billion in state and local taxes, a total of $31.4 billion annually as of 2022/2023. While that certainly sounds like a large number, the total cost of illegal aliens and their U.S.-born children to American taxpayers is $182 billion a year. In other words, we are forced to provide six dollars in benefits and services for every dollar paid in taxes by the unlawfully present,” said an excerpt written by FAIR’s senior researcher Pawel Styrna.

Chief Raul Ortiz, who recently announced his retirement from the U.S. Border Patrol, posted a tweet earlier this month regarding the influx of new migrants coming into the country.

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